Over just a couple of days, two distinct stories have led us to believe that Microsoft will soon cut the price of their next generation console, after all, despite earlier denials from the company. The first story comes out of the UK, where Microsoft's ongoing advertising frenzy continued over the weekend. One ad in particular caught CVG's vigilant eye, during ITV's "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" show (actually, they claim their girlfriends made them watch it, but as of press time we were unable to get in
contacttouch with said girlfriends for an official confirmation... or various other things).
The ad in question showcased the swelling portfolio of Xbox 360 games, stating the price of the console as "from £199.99 RRP" - which apparently is £10 ($20) cheaper than the current price of the Xbox 360 Core System in the UK. Not a huge price cut, but a cut nevertheless.
Meanwhile, an older interview with Robbie Bach (president of Entertainment and Devices at Microsoft) conducted by Mercury News a couple of weeks ago was finally transcribed, and among other things (Zune and stuff) it also reveals some juicy bits of comment from Bach, regarding the topic at hand:
"(...) The second thing you have to look at is economics. You have to ask the question, over the life cycle, who has the cost advantage? Who can price most effectively? Who can reach the price points quicker? That has a huge impact on what gets driven.
Q: Price points for hardware?
A: Yes. (...) Because we are out there first, we have a bigger installed base of consoles. We can drive down the manufacturing curve sooner and faster. And because we designed a box that was fundamentally easier to manage on costs, we’re going to have that advantage.
Q: So are you thinking about Xbox 720?
A: You know how these things work. The engineering team is always thinking about the future. Right now we are thinking about how to cost reduce the Xbox 360. That seems to be the first order of business."
But just because cutting the price of the Xbox 360 ranks high on Microsoft's list of priorities, it doesn't mean that it will happen as soon as Christmas 2006. In fact, later in the interview Bach basically says that there's no point in cutting the price, as long as Sony has trouble delivering enough PlayStation 3 units in the US. And since Sony's troubles aren't about to give in soon, we reckon the same goes for Xbox 360's firm price point. For now.
buy 100,000 360s in the future sell them back in the past and become a millionaire but don't bump into yourself or you'll cause a paradox and universe go poof. I recommend the film Primer.